Unresolved Land Issue for Last 10 years | Sumas First Nation | Lightning Rock Site
Unceded Ancestral Lands British Columbia
Ninety-five percent of British Columbia, including the city of Vancouver, is on territory that was never surrendered or sold to Canada. This means that it wasn’t legally taken from First Nations peoples by force or treaty. A traditional territory is the land an indigenous group identifies as their home and where they traditionally lived.
Today, there are approximately 200,000 Indigenous people in British Columbia. They include First Nations, Inuit and Métis. There are 198 distinct First Nations in B.C., each with their own unique traditions and history. More than 30 different First Nation languages and close to 60 dialects are spoken in the province.
“John Glazema” Owner of Corpus Management Group purchased the site in 2011 which later turned out to be First Nations burial site on Sumas Mountain.
The provincial heritage department said there were no issues with the land. Glazema spent three years planning a $40-million industrial development, and it sailed through the Abbotsford planning department.
“We were good to go,” Glazema said. “The land had been zoned and we’d gone through third reading, everything was a bit of a formality. But at the final public hearing, (a Semá:th elder) stood up and brought to light that there was a sacred burial ground on that site.”
“I’m not upset with the Natives,” said Glazema. “The Natives have the ability to claim this land. I don’t want to be digging up sacred sites. That being said, the province has to take responsibility for this. If this comes up and they want to protect these sites, then they have to write a cheque.”
There’s about 90 acres that has been claimed by First Nations to be safe burial ground as it relates to Lightning Rock Site. Even after spending millions John Glazema can’t use the land for it’s good.
To the province that doesn’t qualify as a form of archaeological site & outside of the individual cultural features or individual artifacts that were found there, they don’t recognize the intangible side of the cemetery, which is the field.
John has been approaching to the B.C. government to settle this mess but even after 10 years, it’s still not going anywhere.
John after spending huge amount on the project is unable to cultivate the land or use it for any good yet on other hand Trans Mountain Corporation are building pipelines on the same very sacred land.
Even after all this they are required to pay 55000 as speculation tax & another 50 to 80 thousand dollars in the form of property tax.
John has tried to solve this land issues for years now with the federal government, he has taken this up to the highest levels possible. But it seems the federal government is intent on not resolving this issue.